The “I” factor in fiscal political practice

When is a Prime Minister a political person and when the voice of the nation? Opening the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington on April 18, John Key said: “I feel proud of the decision to make Pukeahu a … Continue reading

Mateship, sacrifice, a fair go and all that

Hands up if you agree that Anzac encapsulates “the unique qualities that gave birth to our national identity: courage, mateship, sacrifice, generosity, freedom and a fair go for all”. I can see almost all hands are up. That is in … Continue reading

The climate may be changing in climate change

After the world cricket cup superhyperbole comes heroic Gallipoli. Periodically New Zealand mutates into Jingoland. On Saturday our soldier Governor-General and non-soldier Prime Minister open the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. That day Te Papa launches “Gallipoli: The scale of … Continue reading

Bloke or statesman: a choice with Easter overtones

When should the Prime Minister be a bloke? And when a statesman? On the day of Lee Kuan Yew’s funeral John Key chose bloke over statesman to be with the New Zealand cricket team at the world cup final against … Continue reading

History made, history celebrated, history-in-the-making

History was made on Saturday (and not made on Sunday). History will be celebrated tomorrow. Today a speech will touch on history-in-the-making. Winston Peters’ win on Saturday is not simply local. To turn a 5691 September election night candidate majority … Continue reading

A by-election can have some meanings

Some of the most thoughtful political writing these days is coming from — Peter Dunne. Dunne, who leads, and is, United Future in Parliament, has been sounding more like he did in 1994, when debating breaking with Labour. He then … Continue reading

A small country on the planet of the apps

Colin James to Golden Bay University of the Third Age and public meeting in Takaka, 20 March 2015 It’s 2015 and you have a health issue: the doctor will see you now. Imagine it’s 2020: the robot will see you … Continue reading

Labour: will 2015 mark “the end of the beginning”?

Last week the Reserve Bank stayed stoutly within its orthodoxy. The Labour party’s challenge is to make a new orthodoxy from its old principles. Both have found mid-2010s realities don’t fit pre-2008 conventions. The bank talked of its difficulty in … Continue reading

Falling prices used to be a good thing

On Thursday Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler will pronounce on the economy’s track and where interest rates should or might go and when. He is likely not to cut the official cash rate (OCR) but the slope of any future … Continue reading

Statecraft and sending troops to Iraq

Let’s be clear: constitutionally, the Executive decides where and how troops are deployed. John Key did not need Parliament’s approval to go to war. And let’s be clear: Key is going to war. Iraq is at war. Training its troops … Continue reading